Regional Chapter Reports: November 2020

View the chapter report for:


Southwest Region Chapters Report - November 2020

Joe Ferdani, APR, Southwest Region Vice President

 

Arizona School Public Relations Association (ASPRA)

Zachery Fountain, President

Chapter well-being

The Arizona School Public Relations Association (ASPRA) is showing incremental growth in membership over the past year. The organization has managed to remain at a steady membership level, despite all of the uncertainty for school districts about COVID-19. Our Executive Board holds regular monthly meetings and hosts virtual quarterly meetings for the membership. ASPRA is proud to report that chapter finances are in a good place. With fewer events this year, the organization does not anticipate an increase in funds but we do expect to maintain our current checking and savings levels. Virtual meetings have been very successful and have seen healthy attendance similar to the traditional in-person meetings. The organization continues to see the struggles of our members during this time and are working to support the emotional health of our members given their duties. ASPRA is working to provide more support for the membership but continues to appreciate the support from NSPRA in this area.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

The ASPRA Executive Board has been putting in extra time trying to maintain existing partnerships. With conferences moving to a virtual setting, usual support for state organizations like the Arizona School Board Association (ASBA) have had to be re-imagined. ASPRA is now looking to provide support to ASBA through access to letter templates and member support for rural districts who may not be able to have a full-time communications person on staff. The team is also working to expand partnerships across the board for support with crisis communications.

Professional development programs/activities

On October, 29, ASPRA offered an additional virtual professional development session with the Arizona Insurance Trust on how to work with the media during a pandemic. ASPRA continues to offer quarterly meetings for members that include PD topics based on feedback we receive from our members.

Major chapter issues or concerns

ASPRA has quickly adapted to the virtual setting and our list-serv is as strong as ever. The Executive Board does not have any structural concerns with our chapter at this time.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

Membership could use support on mental health and membership wellness. If there are programs that NSPRA offers or PD sessions on self-care, we would love to share this with our members. The role of NSPRA on a national level could lend support for this type of work with the National School Boards Association and the Superintendent’s Association (AASA) as the pressure facing our practitioners is not taking place in a vacuum and is directly correlated with the position of communications shops in educational organizations.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

Arizona school public relations practitioners share the same anxiety regarding the upcoming election. In Arizona, Proposition 208 (Invest in Ed) is on the ballot. There is a lot of controversy around this proposition and it will be very interesting to see what happens to future bond and override elections for districts based on the outcome of this proposition. There is a sense that if it passes, it could make it difficult for individual districts to pass overrides and bonds while if it fails, there will be concerns about funding our public schools in Arizona.

Additional items of note

Arizona has an incredible group of school communicators and throughout this pandemic, I have been proud and grateful to serve such an amazing group. It is incredible to see our comradery and the overall levels of support we have shown for one another through these challenging times.

California School Public Relations Association (CalSPRA)

Jennifer Dericco, APR, President

No report submitted.

Colorado School Public Relations Association (CoSPRA)

No report submitted.

Utah School Public Relations Association (USPRA)

Steven Powell, President

No report submitted.

 


South Central Region Chapters Report - November 2020

Melissa McConnell, South Central Regional Vice President

 

Arkansas School Public Relations Association (ArkaNSPRA)

Brian Bridges, President

No report submitted.

Kansas School Public Relations Association (KanSPRA)

Kimberly Koop, President

Chapter well-being

KanSPRA is still an active chapter with growing membership. We are still in the process of getting membership renewals but are looking at a total membership of 88 with 7 new ones in the last 30 days. We have regular monthly Zoom meetings with members and our board is also meeting virtually once per month. Our finances will likely have a slight dip this year since we are not holding our traditional annual conference, but we’ve gone over our budget and our overall finances will still be in great shape at the end of this fiscal year. We are looking at updating a couple of items in our bylaws to more clearly outline expectations of our board members and to align with current practices, and will be submitting those to NSPRA for approval after our October board meeting.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our board decided to revamp our traditional annual conference. Instead, we are offering a monthly virtual PD series that is focusing on current school PR challenges in our state and highlighting how member districts are overcoming those hurdles. We have combined this with our traditional regional meetings so as to not burden our membership with too many meetings that pull them away from the great work they are doing. The meetings last an hour and a half, with the first hour dedicated to the state-wide professional development. The last 30 minutes we send them into Zoom breakout rooms to collaborate within their region. We’ve also revamped vendor sponsorship opportunities to fit into the new digital format so we hopefully won’t lose too much income, since we are offering the virtual conference meetings at no cost to our members as a way to help support them during these trying times. The meetings are all recorded and stored in our members-only resource page on our website, so anyone who can’t join us live can still benefit from the content. This seems to have gone over really well with our members. We are also working on a digital Swag Bag and are ordering sunflower stress balls to send to members as a thank-you and a reminder to take care of themselves.

Professional development programs/activities

As stated in the previous question, we are doing a monthly virtual professional development series. Each month features a different district and how they are overcoming a specific communication challenge. There is an opportunity for members to learn best practices, what worked for that district, what didn’t, and to share their own experiences on that topic.

Major chapter issues or concerns

Our biggest struggle right now is how to supplement income without our annual conference. We think we have that problem handled for the most part by reformatting sponsorship opportunities to align with our virtual formatting. The first sponsorship seemed to go well. The vendor was happy with what they received for their contribution and members seemed to respond well to how it was formatted. It didn’t feel “sales-pitchy.”

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

I don’t know of anything specific we need right now. If Power Hours could be provided for free, we would definitely jump at the chance to align one of our monthly meetings with that!

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

Right now, there is a challenge with communication between some school districts and their local health departments in terms of quarantining students and knowing when they can safely return to school. This is creating a lot of angst in teachers, administrators, and students/parents. With information about what can/will be shared with schools changing almost daily in some cases it can be difficult for the PR professionals to not only keep up with those changes, but effectively communicate them and let families know the reason it keeps changing. With all of the added stress and communication needs due to the pandemic, it is also increasing frustration and burnout.

Additional items of note

We are still working to make sure our board members know what their responsibilities are and that they are performing those duties as expected. We made a few changes to our board members this year and it seems like that has helped. Our current board is engaged and has really stepped up to the plate this year so far. Our president elect is coordinating our monthly virtual professional development. Our past president is spearheading the bylaw updates. Our communications chair has done a wonderful job getting our new website up and running and adding/changing things as requested. Our new membership chair has been proactive in reaching out to those who still need to renew as well as potential new members. Our member support chair is working on a program to pair members up so they can check on each other periodically as well as a schedule or list of ideas to support each other throughout the year.

I’ve been sending monthly reminders to all of our members on the Monday before each of our Zoom meetings to remind them about the upcoming meeting and give them a few highlights from our board meeting. I feel like this provides more transparency in our organization and instills confidence in our members that their KanSPRA board is working behind the scenes to provide benefits and supports for them. I’ve also began including a new member highlight that lists any new members who have signed up, what district/organization they are with, and which region they belong to in hopes that others from their region might reach out and personally invite them to a meeting or introduce themselves to the newcomer.

As a board, we have been working hard to be active in the organization and encourage our members to be actively engaged as well.

Missouri School Public Relations Association (MOSPRA) 

Kelly Wachel, President
David Luther, Executive Director

No report submitted.

Oklahoma School Public Relations Association (OKSPRA)

Cara Adney, President

Chapter well-being

OKSPRA’s membership has declined by 30 people, however, much of this is due to the pandemic. We have not aggressively reached out to past members. This will be a light year. Our chapter is in the best financial shape it has been and we’re moving to 100% virtual for this year in order to eliminate most expenses.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

We have a six-goal strategic plan

Professional development programs/activities

100% virtual offerings focused on communication to different audiences, communication tools, and messaging. We also have pop-up professional development.

Major chapter issues or concerns

We’re in good shape. Everything is organized.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

The concerns will be addressed with the new PONSPRA and ED.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

None

Additional items of note

None

Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA)

Linsae Snider, Executive Director
Veronica Castillon APR, President

Chapter well-being

  • TSPRA Staff remains at three employees – Linsae Snider, Executive Director, Janet Crock, Programs Manager and Tracie Seed, Communications and Marketing Manager.
  • Because our annual conference took place the last week of February 2020 and about 2-3 weeks before Covid shutdown, we were able to exceed our financial goals for FY2019-2020 and pull a budgeted profit of about $15,000. Our investments have also survived the times as about $550,000 remains in savings.
  • An external audit of the organization’s FY 2019-2020 was conducted during the month of August resulting in a report of sound accounting practices and diligent and responsible management of funds and no recommendations.
  • The Member Review of Financial Records and Procedures (Audit) Committee conducted its audit (in-person) of the 2019-2020 fiscal year on September 15, 2020, reporting sound accounting practices, efficient office operations and recommending to the Executive Committee that work continue towards achieving the previously determined financial goals of the organization.
  • The TSPRA 990 for the 2019-2020 fiscal year was filed with IRS on September 25, 2020.
  • We continue to accept dues 2020-2021 renewals until October 31, 2020. After that date, a late fee of $45 will be added. Membership looks to exceed 1000 members.
  • All nine TSPRA regions have hosted virtual meetings since March. The number of regional meetings has actually increased with increased attendance during Covid.
  • TSPRA Executive Committee met virtually on October 1, 2020, resulting in a summary of the meeting actions, discussions and information being shared with membership via the weekly newsletter.
  • The TSPRA Nominating Committee also met virtually on October 1, 2020, to slate Executive Committee candidates for 2021-2022. Electronic voting takes place November 5-December 4, 2020.
  • An investment was made during FY2019-2020 to purchase new office furniture. Delivery of the goods occurred March-June even though the order took place in December and January. We have beautiful new office furniture and our building has essentially been closed the entire time!

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

  • Melissa Martinez, APR, CPC, El Paso ISD, officially earned APR credentials in August and will be pinned at #TSPRA21. Another 2-3 are expected to be pinned by the February conference.
  • A total of 26 TSPRA members have earned CPC (certified public communicator) credentials from the TCU program with another nine expected to complete their cohort training in January (delayed due to Covid) while the 2020-2022 cohort includes seven more TSPRA members.
  • A totally new TSPRA website and website design debuted in July.
  • TSPRA Strategic Initiative #1- to produce a quarterly digital magazine - has materialized with the publishing of summer and fall issues of Communication Matters. The initiative has also proven to generate revenue through ad sales.
  • The state office continues to publish twice-weekly EduLeges, weekly eNewsletters, eBlasts about important announcements, reminders and postings of communications related positions on our website. In addition, numerous Facebook postings and twitter messages are posted on an ongoing basis. The TSPRA Facebook page houses photographs from regional meetings and promotional postings of TSPRA programs and events as well as deadline reminders.
  • Andy Welch, TSPRA EduLege contract journalist and long-time NSPRA member and Communications Director at Austin ISD was named 2020 Key Communicator and received recognition on October 1, 2020, during the first general session of the 2020 TASA TASB Convention held virtually.
  • We continue to be pleased with the Member 365 member management system and continue to learn new features realizing that no MMS is perfect!
  • Star Awards entries are being accepted until November 2, 2020, through Open Water, a system we also invested in four years ago. Due to Covid, we are not expecting the 1600 entries submitted last year; however, we do expect most entries to be related to Covid communications!
  • Open Water will also be utilized this year for professional awards nominations and judging when nominations open on November 2, 2020.
  • The TSPRA executive director presented to TASA First Year Superintendent Academy again this year as well as to the Texas Association of School Personnel Administrators and as part of a legal workshop addressing the new Title IX laws.
  • TSPRA members delivered two virtual concurrent sessions for the virtual TASA/TASB Convention and will be scheduled sessions for the 2021 Superintendent’s Midwinter Convention which will be delivered virtually in January 2021.
  • Applications for three TSPRA conference scholarships, valued at $1945 each, will be accepted until November 20th with the recipients being named on December 9th.
  • The TSPRA president served on the selection committee that named the 2021 Texas Teacher of the Year.
  • TSPRA continues to author articles for the TASA publication, INSIGHT that is delivered to all TASA members quarterly.
  • We are holding off on contracting for the 2023 TSPRA Conference venue, pending what may happen in 2021.
  • TSPRA enrolled in the NSPRA cash-back incentive program to recruit new members with required communications planned for blasting on November 13, 2020 and March 12, 2021.

Professional development programs/activities

  • The current situation with #TSPRA21 Conference: Venues in Texas don’t negotiate cancellations until 90 days prior. Our first opportunity to determine available options is November 20. As of this moment we are planning an in-person conference at limited capacity and planning for virtual delivery on the sides of our desk.
    • Hotel has placed a maximum 600-person attendee restriction.
    • DFW hospitality is pretty much open for business so we don’t anticipate a lot of bargaining power and this hotel has already hosted a 425-person conference.
    • Recent survey of TSPRA membership suggests 57% of our members will be able to attend in-person.
    • The TSPRA Conference Planning Committee (15 members) will meet at the hotel venue in-person on November 5 to plan the conference and experience the safety protocols and procedures hotels have in place.
    • A decision will be made by mid-December regarding the delivery mode for #TSPRA21. Right now, it is a “wait and see” situation.
  • Conference 2021 registration is open with 269 registrations processed, the hotel block at the conference hotel is at capacity and an overflow hotel has 60 bookings resulting in 360 booked rooms to-date with 31 vendors committed and deposits made.
  • Regarding conference planning, Melissa McConnell, NSPRA South Central Vice President has been invited to bring greetings from NSPRA. Six preconference sessions are scheduled along with one keynoter, 40 concurrent sessions, 40 roundtables, and job alike, timely topics, counselors-on-call and/or affinity groups to be scheduled. Due to Covid, exhibits will be limited to a maximum of 40. Keynoter is Judson Laipply, Evolution of Dance, who will deliver a motivational keynote. In addition, there will be a 5K run and the annual Star Awards Banquet. Should the conference pivot to virtual, the offerings will be half of what is listed above. The platform, Remo, will be used to deliver roundtables and other networking opportunities.
  • Ten retired TSPRA members have been enlisted to assist with conference labor and duties, providing a significant cost savings.
  • TSPRA Strategic Initiative #2 – to offer an online learning platform – has resulted in 17 offerings this fall. The online learning committee meets on November 19 to plan the spring offerings.  Fall 2020 offerings 
    • To date, 584 registrations have been processed
    • $8900 in sponsorship revenue has been generated
    • Zoom Pro is the delivery platform

Major chapter issues or concerns

  • This school year has been tough on our schools. The Texas coastal area districts have endured more than one tropical storm in addition to Covid.
  • School finance is expected to be an issue with student enrollment numbers suffering due to Covid and no real idea how the 86th Texas Legislature will respond to school finance in a year that state revenues are less than forecast. So far, it hasn’t seemed to impact TSPRA membership and in fact, we have seen a surge in smaller school districts creating first-ever communications positions. The forecast for the new biennium- 2021-2023- is uncertain and a bit scary.
  • Exhaustion among our members is a very real concern.
  • The future of a continued virtual delivery of activities is troubling. While it has served education during Covid, the fear of a population fearing to return to in-person creates some very real concerns for so many reasons! To list the concerns would add another five pages to this report!
  • TSPRA serves a very diverse membership – PIO/communications professionals at all levels from head of department to specialists in addition to education foundation directors, webmasters, electronic media production specialists, translators, community partnership coordinators and graphic artists. We continue to challenge ourselves to provide services that address and meet the very different needs of each.
  • TSPRA Strategic Initiative #3 – relocation of TSPRA offices – will be addressed during the spring 2021. While we were aware that our existing space my no longer be available, we are now contemplating the effectiveness and efficiency of a work from home environment and anticipation of what office space rental will look like in 2021.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

  • Charter school membership in TSPRA continues to increase. Turnover among the charters is not what it was several years ago. Blending the two cultures and accepting each other is a leadership challenge I am attempting to conquer. I can use all the help and coaching I can get on this!
  • The outcome of the election may present some communications efforts that need advance thought and preparation – and I fear it could result in crisis-mode efforts.
  • A post-Covid world and how we will maneuver through it does kinda keep me up at night.
  • TSPRA is here to help support and navigate a smooth transition in NSPRA leadership.
  • I have told the TSPRA Executive Committee of my anticipated retirement in June 2022.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

  • Less than desired support of public education at the state level.
  • Continuing effects of Covid on schools, economy and families.
  • The effects of virtual learning overall on our school children’s levels of learning success.
  • Working with teacher groups reluctant to returning to classrooms.
  • Increasing number of teachers leaving the profession and limited number entering.
  • Lack of available substitute teachers statewide.
  • Addressing the administering of the Covid vaccine because we all know schools will be a delivery spot – and addressing those families who do not vaccinate.
  • Effects of Covid, virtual learning, etc. on students with special needs and 504 needs.
  • State of public education in general post-Covid. j. Support for and establishment of new protocols presently and post-COVID.

Additional items of note

N/A

 


Southeast Region Chapters Report - November 2020

Mychal Frost, Southeast Region Vice President

 

Alabama School Public Relations Association (ALSPRA)

Jason Gaston, APR, President

No report submitted.

Florida School Public Relations Association (SUNSPRA)

Shayla Cannady, President

Chapter well-being

SUNSPRA continues to bring beneficial programming and expertise to school public relations professionals across the state of Florida. Between the summer and fall, SUNSPRA experienced a bit of a slow start to the new chapter year as volunteer chapter leaders were working diligently to help their respective school districts have successful reopening plans. Additionally, our Executive Director was working on a campaign for a local school board seat, which she won on November 3. She will continue in her part-time Executive Director role for SUNSPRA while serving on the Marion County School Board.

Our chapter board experienced a couple of resignations in the areas of professional development and awards/recognition this summer. The VP of Professional Development spot was quickly filled, and we are working to fill the additional vacancy as well. Because of the awards vacancy, we have chosen to delay the annual Medallion Awards, most recently held in the fall 2019, to spring/summer 2021. Our full-year strategic plan includes measurable objectives that we are tracking, and we are continuing work on updating the chapter by-laws while increasing our communication and social media efforts.

Our fall membership drive has gone electronic, utilizing Google forms and Square for digital invoicing for credit card payments. Membership totals for the fall have not reached the levels they were at this time last year, but we have welcomed some new members and school districts. Our goal was to increase membership by 15% this year over prior year (to reach 50 members) and to increase the total number of member districts by 10% (to reach 25). To date we have 28 members representing 12 school districts in Florida. Members will be receiving member certificates by email this month recognizing their membership in SUNSPRA.

Fiscally, we continue to have a healthy treasury with $14,407.50 in the bank as of October 31, 2020. The treasurer and Executive Director built a budget for the new year based on the strategic plan, and the board approved it in the late summer. All banking and budget tracking is now on QuickBooks through the Executive Director’s company, so that is an asset to SUNSPRA.

Our monthly communications continue through a MailChimp e- newsletter. We recently signed an agreement with Blackboard to sponsor/update our website (which has been an issue for some time). We are currently working to get SUNSPRA’s brand front and center on our new website that we hope to launch very soon. It and our Facebook pages are still progressing and are parts of our communication goals for this upcoming year. Many things are in the works for SUNSPRA as we continue rebuilding.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

The Florida School Boards Association Joint Conference held in December has gone virtual. For our part, our president, Shayla Cannady, will be providing one session for the event. Additionally, we intend to honor the Superintendent Communicator of the Year as well as the Margie Davidson Leading Light Award winners through video sessions available in the virtual conference. Our hope is we will be able to get back to at least one in-person professional development meeting of Florida Schools Public Relations professionals in 2021.

Professional development programs/activities

SUNSPRA continues to be proud of our professional development efforts. We have held one in July, one in September and one in November with another tentatively scheduled in December. We continue to have roughly 20 people attend these professional development sessions as they are held. Our plan is to get back onto our regularly planned First Friday of the month webinar schedule, and the November and December events are planned as such.

Major chapter issues or concerns

We have struggled with getting out of the COVID-related sluggish nature that most membership organizations have experienced this year. Additionally, we believe face-to-face professional development and networking can truly be a terrific membership recruitment tool that we are missing due to the pandemic. We also have struggled with completing our communication plans to implement our new brand across our online presences (website and Facebook). It’s a bit of the “cobblers children have no shoes” currently. Time seems to be a factor as we navigate those challenges.

Our leadership stream is in a good place with our president, Shayla Cannady and president-elect, Nicole Young, both agreeing to serve another term in those roles with Nicole taking over as president in 2021. As our executive director is able to focus more on SUNSPRA following the political season, several of the goals we have will begin to come to fruition.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

As we continue to enhance our professional development opportunities for members, we welcome assistance and support from NSPRA for speakers and topic ideas. We also welcome suggestions for member benefits and how to transition into paid events vs. free that we have offered this year.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

State testing requirements or lack thereof from DOE. All things related to COVID-19 and schools. Online district-level school options as opposed to Florida Virtual School – the differences and challenges with each model. We welcome additional recommendations from NSPRA for all pandemic-related school communications news.

Additional items of note

None at this time .

Georgia School Public Relations Association (GSPRA)

Anisa Sullivan Jimenez, APR, President

Chapter well-being

The Georgia School Public Relations Association (GSPRA) conducted a fall membership campaign that resulted in 90 memberships, including 73 membership renewals and 17 new members. Approximately $4,000 in membership dues were collected. Of the GSPRA membership, there are currently 35 who also hold membership in the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA). Despite the pandemic, which resulted in the cancellation of our yearly conference, GSPRA is still reaching its members through monthly virtual webinars to meet and exchange ideas, network, and provide professional development. 

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts 

GSPRA and NCSPRA continued their annual partnership by judging each other’s annual publications contests. Furthermore, GSPRA is currently partnering with NCSPRA to host a virtual regional conference. In addition, GSPRA has continued the monthly virtual webinars that have proven very popular as a means of networking in light of not being afforded the opportunity to meet in person. 

Professional development programs/activities 

GSPRA is offering monthly virtual webinars for professional development. Our webinars thus far have included the topics of COVID-19, Preparing for Your APR, School Reopening Best Practices, Creating In-House Videos, Update from the Georgia Department of Education, and Health and Wellbeing Best Practices. 

Major chapter issues or concerns

In the event we are able to host an annual conference this year, many may not be able to attend due to travel restrictions implemented by their districts. As such, members may be unable to attend the NSPRA conference as well. We look to the national organization to help assist with providing much-needed professional development and networking to our membership. 

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support 

We were delighted to have two NSPRA members - Kristin Magette, APR and Shawn McKillop, APR – provide a monthly webinar session on Wellbeing for the School Communications Professional. We will be requesting that NSPRA President Lesley Bruinton, APR be the sole speaker for our April 2021 webinar. 

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on 

Georgia House Bill 60, known as the Voucher Bill would divert public school dollars to private schools. Superintendents are lobbying for this to not occur.

Additional items of note 

Although we were unable to host our Annual Conference due to COVID-19 concerns, GSPRA still took the opportunity to celebrate the many outstanding publications our members developed and created during this pandemic by hosting a Virtual Awards Celebration on Thurs., Jan. 28. More can be found at gspra.org/awards. Sponsored by Blackboard, we recognized numerous outstanding publications and the creative minds behind them. In February, our monthly webinar will feature our Best in Category awards winners, who will provide explanations of their publications and best practices for submissions in their areas of expertise.

Mississippi School Public Relations Association (MSPRA)

Geri Hill, President

No report submitted.

North Carolina School Public Relations Association (NCSPRA)

Ken Derksen, President

Chapter well-being

NCSPRA is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a chapter of NSPRA. It is a thriving chapter that is taking significant steps forward in serving its membership. The chapter has new leadership and is launching new initiatives to provide member services during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. On July 1, 2020, Ellen Boyd, M.S., APR, began serving NCSPRA as its new, part-time Executive Director. In addition, Dr. Patricia Hollingsworth, who was elected to serve as NCSPRA President effective June 1, 2020, resigned her position in June after accepting a new job outside of school communications. NCSPRA Vice President, Ken Derksen, elevated to the position of President, and there was a seamless transition to fill all board officer and board member positions and continue smooth leadership of the chapter.

NCSPRA membership in 2020 has already grown by more than 20% over 2019 levels. In addition, the chapter has launched a new podcast and regular virtual “PR Check-In” sessions that provide relevant, timely, and valuable information to our members and their colleagues (more information on these below). The chapter is on a solid financial footing. By increasing memberships, retaining sponsorships, and keeping its Blue Ribbon Awards program in place, NCSPRA has been able to maintain stable bank balances. In addition, with new leadership in place, the chapter has been able to add member services without increasing costs.

While NCSPRA has not been able to hold in-person meetings or professional development activities since February, the chapter has continued to serve members and hold meetings virtually. Board members meet regularly using Zoom and even held a virtual planning retreat in August. Both in the spring and in the Fall, the Board used ThoughtExchange surveys to monitor the needs of members. In addition, NCSPRA has partnered with the NC Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) to help educators and school communicators navigate through the pandemic. NCSPRA’s president served on NCDPI’s COVID-19 Communications Response Work Team, which raised the needs of school communicators and resulted in increased communications/resources from NCDPI. It also led to regular Zoom calls for NC school communications leaders that provided focused professional development opportunities and/or updates pertinent to their roles. As part of NCSPRA’s ongoing efforts to engage and support its membership, the Board is now facilitating regular PR check-in sessions via Zoom for our members (see question #3 below for details).

The podcasts and regular PR Check-In sessions have worked very well for our members. They are extremely well received, and we have gotten a great deal of positive feedback. We also have gotten positive feedback for our increased usage of social media platforms to raise awareness of NCSPRA and to help spread the great work being done by NCSPRA members, PR professionals, and NC public schools.

As much as we try to stay connected using virtual methods during the pandemic, it is simply not the same as being able to meet face-to-face. Zoom will never be a perfect substitute for sitting around the same table at a board meeting and having face-to-face discussions and brainstorming ideas together. In fact, having to stay apart greatly impacted our Board’s ability to work through all of this year’s leadership changes. It would have been extremely helpful to have held in-person orientation sessions with new Board members and to have been able to sit down with the previous leaders to go over documents and financials. It would have aided tremendously in the transition process. However, our Board and leadership have worked through the limitations to make a smooth transition and create very strong momentum for our organization moving forward.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

NCSPRA is in the process of updating its logo. The previous logo has grown stale and does not accurately reflect the growth and vibrancy we are experiencing in NCSPRA. We want a logo that conveys the spirit and importance of school public relations. To design our new logo, we are working with Blackboard. Blackboard is also working with us to refresh our website once the new logo is in place. Our NCSPRA website has also grown stale, so a website refresh is overdue. Because our Board of Directors and Executive Director are so active in adding initiatives and member benefits, we have added many new resources to our current website. Refreshing the website will allow us to capitalize on updated features and add even more value for our members.

In November of 2019, NCSPRA launched a very successful Mentor/Mentee Program for newer members. It was called “Mentor Match-Up.” The project put an interactive twist on the traditional mentor/mentee role assignment. During our 2019 Fall Conference, the NCSPRA "Mentor Match-Up" was held at a nearby restaurant. It was a speed-dating style workshop in a relaxed environment that encouraged both NCSPRA and SC/NSPRA members to find mentors/mentees based on actual connections, role and district similarities, shared personality traits, and interests – versus simply years served or geographical locations. The event was sponsored by eSchoolView and included drink tickets and heavy hors d'oeuvres for participants who pre-registered for the event. Question prompts facilitated discussion among participants. They circulated the room "speed-dating style" and traded business cards with their "matches." Post-event emails were sent to registered mentors with the email contacts of mentees in attendance. This encouraged follow-up and continued relationship-building, and it has been a wonderful success. NCSPRA plans to continue this Mentor Match-Up program at future in-person conferences, and we are looking at ways to make it virtual during the pandemic.

Since the Governor shut down public school buildings in March of 2020 in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, NCSPRA has been at the table with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) to help support school districts with their communications and engagement efforts during these unprecedented times for schools. Through this partnership, NCDPI has been better able to provide meaningful resources and strategic counsel to school communicators across NC during the time of COVID-19. NCDPI has held regular Zoom sessions with the state’s school communicators since the beginning of the pandemic to provide support and resources. The calls have been open to all NC school communicators regardless of membership in NCSPRA. However, NCSPRA has been touted as a resource to school districts during the calls, and membership opportunities have been routinely plugged. Most recently, NCSPRA has begun hosting its own Zoom PR Check-Ins to complement the NCDPI efforts. These sessions allow us to share the expertise of our leaders with others across the state. We have included additional information about this initiative in the answer below.

Professional development programs/activities

NCSPRA is extremely proud of our new podcast that we launched in August. The podcast is called #SchoolPR Drive Time, and it focuses on driving the narrative forward for public education through the work of school PR professionals. The podcast is available on numerous platforms, including SoundCloud, iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts. The podcast episodes deliver timely, relevant, and valuable information to listeners during a time when in-person professional development is not possible. We launched the podcast to provide critical information to our members as well as recruit new members, add value for members, and heighten awareness of NCSPRA and the importance of strategic public relations.

NCSPRA also has established regular PR Check-Ins on Fridays. While NCDPI’s regular Zoom calls with school communications leaders have been recorded and shared widely, NCSPRA’s PR-Check-Ins are more like off-line sessions where candid conversations can be held. The first NCSPRA PR Check-In was held in mid-September of 2020. For the first several weeks, NCSPRA provided weekly check-ins each Friday, which were open to all school communicators across the state. We maintained the weekly schedule through October 9th as in-person learning was expanding to more districts in the state. After October 9th, we moved to a bi-weekly schedule so that we could maintain regular support and communication without over burdening the facilitators of the calls or the schedules of participants. After October, the check-in sessions will become a member benefit and will be open only to NCSPRA members.

Another way that NCSPRA is providing professional development support to our members during the pandemic is to expand the resources available on our website. After each PR Check-In, we post documents and resources shared during the session in the Members Only Resources section of our website. We also have added what we call an #NCSPRAgold section to our website. #NCSPRAgold is a hashtag that we created to share professional resources with our members on social media. We also upload the resources to the #NCSPRAgold section of our website so that members can have easy access to the materials. Another #NCSPRAgold feature is that we share our members’ best social media posts of the week each Friday so other members can enjoy and learn from their NCSPRA colleagues’ content.

As soon as health regulations and travel restrictions allow, we will return to in-person professional development activities. However, in the meantime, we are continuing to provide alternate and safe ways of sharing professional supports with our members.

Major chapter issues or concerns

Among the many impacts of the pandemic is the challenge of giving sponsors an opportunity to interact with our members. Our in-person conferences and PD activities have always provided a wonderful opportunity for sponsors and school communicators to come together to share information and resources with each other. The interactions with sponsors were also a good source of income for NCSPRA. Without the opportunity to hold in-person events, the level of connection with our sponsors, and the amount of income generated from sponsors has diminished. This has also impacted our ability to expose members to new products and/or services that might benefit their communications programs. However, we have a sponsorship contract with Blackboard that is providing ongoing income. We also are actively seeking other opportunities for sponsors to engage with our members. Our new #SchoolPR Drive Time podcast is a good example of these efforts. We are currently seeking sponsors to support the podcast, which would not only provide a stream of revenue for NCSPRA but also give sponsors opportunities to keep their names and services in front of our members.

One other potential challenge down the road is the fact that many NC school districts have stopped all out-of-district travel for the remainder of the school year. If those restrictions stay in place, we would not be able to hold in-person events even if health guidelines permitted them. The additional burdens placed on districts by the pandemic have severely strained budgets, which is having an impact on travel and other resources, which are critical to the success of NCSPRA.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

NSPRA has always been a wonderful supporter of school public relations and the value that it provides to districts, students, staff, families, and communities. With the budget fallouts that will inevitably come during and after the pandemic, it will be more critical than ever for NSPRA to lobby for school districts to keep—and even enhance—their school communications departments. It is very possible that communications departments and personnel will be put onto the budget chopping block, and that would be a mistake that would have terrible consequences not only for NSPRA and its state chapters but also for the families, students, and communities served by these communications professionals.

While not an issue, as president, I would find it highly valuable if NSPRA were to hold a virtual check-in of sorts with all of its chapter presidents as part of its ongoing national support efforts. I believe it would be a great opportunity for the chapter presidents to collaborate, share best practices, and communicate any concerns that may be generating from their members and/or states. This type of meeting would be a great opportunity for NSPRA to hear directly from its chapter leaders and to become more informed about new or ongoing issues (and effective school PR strategies being put in place to address issues). It would also allow NSPRA to use the input gleaned from the conversations to help ensure its own national support strategies are relevant and best supporting all of its members.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

Civil Unrest: Many communities have experienced civil unrest during the past several months, and, in many cases, the consequences have spilled over into schools. With the coming election, even more tension is likely to be injected into issues that have divided communities. Those tensions are sure to impact schools, students, staff, and families, and educators will have to deal with many complicated situations over the coming year.

Economic and emotional fallout from COVID-19: As more families face the economic and emotional hardships brought about by COVID-19, more students will be coming to school experiencing an increasing number of ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences). These increased needs will require even more resources from schools, educators, and social workers at a time when budgets will be increasingly stretched, if not drastically cut. This will be a very critical combination that will put an ever increasing strain on educators and school communicators.

Public Schools may have a critical challenge ahead: recouping ADM after a chaotic few months. The NC General Assembly has put a “hold harmless” policy in place so that this year’s enrollment numbers won’t affect funding next year. However, if school systems who have lost students due to many factors related to COVID-19 can’t recruit those students back, it could cause a catastrophic drop in funding for the 2021-22 school year.

Additional items of note

Under NCSPRA’s new leadership, we are building a foundation for growth and stability going forward. With the many leadership changes NCSPRA has experienced during the past year, we want to make sure that we establish protocols and procedures that will create a framework for ongoing success. For example, we give all our board members multiple opportunities for leadership. We are providing orientation for all board members so they will become more ready to step into officer positions. We include all of our officers in critical communications and decision-making so that they will be ready to step into President or Vice President roles in the future. We have established shared Google files and folders that are accessible by board members, officers, and the Executive Director to ensure accountability, accessibility, and continuity in the event of future leadership changes. Similarly, the President, Treasurer, and Executive Director all have access to financial information and accounts to ensure accountability, accessibility, and continuity. We have created a Media Team in which all team members have access to NCSPRA social media accounts. This provides for continuous content creation, built-in oversight, and future continuity if one or more people no longer continue in their roles. The idea is to build a sound and sturdy framework that will become even stronger as new people fill roles and improve upon the foundation and framework that we are now establishing.

South Carolina School Public Relations Association (SCSPRA)

Melissa Robinette, President

No report submitted.

Tennessee School Public Relations Association (TNSPRA)

Tyler Hill, President

No report submitted.

 


Mideast Region Chapters Report - November 2020

Patrick Gallaway, Mideast Region Vice President

 

Chesapeake School Public Relations Association (CHESPRA)

Ryan Edwards, President

Chapter well-being

CHESPRA is thriving in our newly established virtual format. We scheduled a series of monthly virtual sessions this fall. We recorded the first one in September on Zoom, had a nice turnout, and after our membership was able to view it on the back end, we’ve seen our membership renewals go up greatly. We are now up to around 110 paid members. In a normal year we average 150, so I see this as a big accomplishment in a virtual world.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

Planning monthly virtual sessions with presenters on topics and bringing sponsors on-board for revenue.

Professional development programs/activities

Our monthly sessions are all about PD. September we focused on bringing in speakers from divisions that opened all virtual, hybrid, and in person to give our members knowledge of how all 3 methods have worked.

Major chapter issues or concerns

I’d say we are in pretty good shape right now considering the environment we are in.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

None comes to mind at the moment.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

The only thing I’d mention is what everyone is monitoring. It would be a huge help if situations improved and we could once again meet in person in the spring.

Additional items of note

None

Indiana School Public Relations Association (INDSPRA)

Maria Bond, President
Donna Petraits, Executive Director

Chapter well-being

Membership is currently strong with a growth of 15 chapters in 2019-2020. We have expanded our leadership with committee chairs and regional directors and maximized our video meeting capability by using Zoom for our board meetings.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

We continue our outreach to members through a “Wellness Check-IN” every two weeks. All members and our education partners are invited to join a Zoom meeting with no set agenda. It’s intended to be an opportunity to vent, share, compare and be supportive to one another. INDSPRA continues to be a resource for our state education organizations. Both state superintendent organizations and local media have contacted the executive director to speak on school communication issues. INDSPRA has partnered with the Central Indiana Education Service Center (CIESC) in Indianapolis to create video PSA’s to support and promote our public schools, as well as build trust in returning to the classroom. The first video was distributed statewide The first PSA was shared statewide and was supported by other educational associations as well. We are also exploring the potential for a mutually beneficial “partnership” agreement with CIESC that would provide us the use of their resources (technology, conference/meeting spaces) in return for our membership expertise for their members (which would then become INDSPRA members). INDSPRA has a new strategic plan with specific goals and objectives that was passed by the board in April. This plan will guide us through our growth and provide a road-map for increased member benefits, communication improvements, and strategic partnerships while maintaining financial solvency. We have started a grassroots regional development initiative. Dividing the state into 10 regions, each regional director is asked to develop networking gatherings (likely virtual for now) to maintain an additional level of contact and support to our membership during this challenging time. Once again, INDSPRA had a presence at the annual State School Board and State Superintendent’s Associations’ conference. It too, was virtual this year, but we had a couple dozen visitors to our “booth”. We anticipate new memberships from this effort.

Professional development programs/activities

INDSPRA’s annual September Boot Camp was virtual this year with presentations from state members, as well as a few NSPRA Live taped presentations. We continue to offer NSPRA’s Power Hours to our members virtually with our Executive Director facilitating a brief discussion afterword with the attendees. We are working on an interactive membership photo directory that shares contact information, as well as the areas of “experience” of each member. This information will be collected through a membership survey this fall.

Major chapter issues or concerns

Of course, reopening schools safely is still our biggest concern with so many variables and potential costs – learning loss, emotional distress, and financial hardships. We continue to collaborate with our colleagues regularly in this regard. Racial equity and supporting those efforts across the state is also a priority, as is the election outcome with its potential for violence. In Indiana, vouchers, teacher pay, school funding and critical referendum management are always a concern. We are already keeping a close eye on what the new session issues will be. Despite significant cuts in the State budget, Gov. Holcomb has promised no cuts to K-12 education. If he is reelected, we’ll see if he can convince the legislature to honor that promise.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

Help chapters to understand and respond to the impact of this pandemic on education and continue to support BLM and racial equity efforts and understanding. Interpret how the negative effects of the present national Department of Education policies will impact public schools and especially all children, long term! Provide additional support in the areas of legal contractual review, website platform.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

Besides the usual stuff the rest of the country is dealing with - underfunding and referenda, vouchers, gun violence, teacher pay, recruitment and retention, transgender rights, news mis/disinformation. . . . . our major concerns are the continuing pandemic, keeping our schools safe and racial equity./p>

Additional items of note

N/A

Kentucky School Public Relations Association (KYSPRA)

Morgan Watson, President

Chapter well-being

KYSPRA is active with four board meetings per year. Membership is growing.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

KYSPRA’s Oasis program (professional development awards) continues.

Professional development programs/activities

KYSPRA currently offers fall and spring conferences, but we are also looking into offering one-day workshops for professional development. KYSPRA hosted its 2020 Virtual Fall Summit on October 22, 2020.

Major chapter issues or concerns

We are working on boosting membership and encouraging members to serve on the KYSPRA board.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

Besides the current pandemic, no other issues requiring regional or national support.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

Besides the current pandemic, there are no other state or local issues.

Additional items of note

None

Michigan School Public Relations Association (MSPRA)

Anne Cron, APR, President
Gerri Allen, Executive Director

Chapter well-being

Despite the financial pressures facing schools in our state during COVID-19, our membership continues to hold steady, with new members continuing to join. Following our annual Board retreat (this year via Zoom), we began planning to support our members with professional development (PD), resources, and critical information for the year.

While our membership numbers remain steady, we are challenged to find active members to support our work. In an effort to bolster engagement and recruit new Board members, MSPRA held a free PD session in October. The session provided participants with tips to grow in their profession through MSPRA and tips and resources around mental health and wellbeing with guest speaker and counselor Gregorio Cognetto. The session was well received by those who attended and favorably evaluated by those who completed the post-session survey. We believe it can serve as a model to solicit further engagement with members.

This month we sent our annual renewal letter to members following a change in our membership options. This is the first year we are offering an Institutional Membership, allowing organizations to include up to three individuals on one membership (for the price of two). As part of our recently approved bylaws, we revised our membership categories to include the Institutional Membership and are working with our administrative staff and a paid programmer to put the proper tracking mechanism in place for that newest category. We will be watching the progress of this change closely and hope it provides value to both MSPRA and our membership.

Maintaining through crisis During our virtual August Board Retreat which spanned two, half days, we welcomed a new Board President, President-elect and Secretary, thanked the outgoing President and Past President, narrowed our focus to a few top goals, and set our course for 2020-21. This year, MSPRA will focus on:

Tangibles - Our toolkits have been a valuable asset to not just our members, but to leaders and organizations across our state. While it is challenging to find members to engage in this work, we believe that as an organization, it is worth our time and effort to continue this impactful work when possible.

Relationships - Particularly during the pandemic, relationships matter. Solutions and healing happen when we work together. MSPRA is dedicated to maintaining and growing relationships with our members, our local and state leaders, and organizations as we progress through this school year.

Values - While it’s hard to look past today, MSPRA understands that long-term planning is vital to our sustained success. We have chosen to focus on our values, including diversity, equity and inclusion as we seek new members for our Board and committees.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

Relationship Building - At our regular board meeting in October, MSPRA invited our fellow educational and state communication colleagues to join us for a brief discussion and visit via Zoom. (We normally hold this meeting face-to-face over lunch at our August Board Retreat.) Although it was remote, the meeting allowed us the opportunity to share the work we are doing and learn more about the work happening in our state. The meeting paid dividends in just two weeks when a member of the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators (MASA) Communication Team queried our listserv seeking resources to help schools locate lost or unaccounted for students. As districts attempt to finalize their pupil accounting numbers with what seems to be an alarming number of “lost” or unaccounted for students across the state, several education groups have joined forces to develop an information campaign to provide resources in locating these students. Recognizing the work school communicators do and not wanting to reinvent the wheel, this state communication colleague asked our members to contribute any communication tools or strategies they may already be using to this statewide effort.

Toolkit for Returning to School - MSPRA’s reputation among educational organizations and members has remained high through COVID-19 as we have worked collaboratively with state organizations to develop communication toolkits. This work, while only one aspect of what we do, has allowed us to build upon standing relationships and develop new ones, with MSPRA regarded as an authority in school communication.
Over the summer, MSPRA teamed with two statewide associations along with the Michigan Department of Education and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to produce a three-part toolkit for school administrators and communicators on Communicating about Returning to School During COVID-19. All three sections were shared across Michigan and also featured in NSPRA’s This Week e-newsletter. The third section was shared in the August 18 edition.

Leading Leaders - In late September, our Past-President Karen Heath presented to a cohort of aspiring superintendents about communicating during COVID-19 as a follow-up to her introductory session on communication with the same group last year. This is a continuation of our collaboration with the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators (MASA).

Professional development programs/activities

On Wednesday, October 14, MSPRA held the free, virtual webinar “Growing Yourself -- Mindfulness and Growing in your Profession.” The session provided information about MSPRA for members and featured members that have had success in part due to their involvement with MSPRA. Counselor and Restorative Practices Coach Gregorio Cognetto led the mindfulness session, offering our members a chance to breathe and focus on themselves.
MSPRA is in the throes of planning a fall Drive-In for November 19 in the afternoon and November 20 in the morning. The Drive-In will feature two virtual offerings: “Continuing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Work” and “How to Produce Great Videos.” Additionally, we will provide our guests with a post-election legislative update and structured opportunities to interact with each other.

Major chapter issues or concerns

We are adapting to a new way of doing business and offering professional development during the pandemic. We are reaching out to our members mainly via email, but have begun to include postcards once again as colleagues return to their offices. Conferences will all be offered via Zoom until we are able to meet in-person with regularity once more. We are also watching our bottom line closely as our regular revenue streams are somewhat impacted this year.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

Hosting a virtual conference - Like many chapters across the state, MSPRA will be focused on how we can best serve our members at our annual conference this year. As we plan, we do so with the understanding that we’ll likely be meeting virtually. Any support NSPRA can provide with this work is welcomed.

Additionally, we have seen the following subjects emerge time and again this year: • Communicating about positive COVID-19 cases without violating FERPA or HIPAA laws. • Communication resources around Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and managing those community conversations. • Separating politics from our schools. • Counting students (attendance) during COVID. • What is the learning plan should there be a resurgence of COVID-19? Also, local school districts may be competing with each other and with the virtual education industry to attract students. • Funding/Economy-School districts are in limbo about how they will be funded. Districts are facing layoffs to balance budgets while at the same time being forced to pay for PPE/disinfecting/health monitoring requirements. • The COVID-19 induced learning gap and possible testing. • Public perception change - Public schools do so much more than just educate students (child care, food resources, mental health, social services etc.). • Federal special education laws - Services that are mandated at a federal level may require schools to restructure services offered through other school programs to ensure that students receive Free Appropriate Public Education.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

It is clear we’re up against COVID-19 fatigue. As we continue efforts to mitigate the spread when individuals are tired of hearing/doing it, communicate continuously changing school learning plans and manage our own health and wellbeing, we are hitting walls. This year will be a tipping point for many schools and communities across the nation and it’s vital that communicators are at the helm helping to support and navigate these waters.

Additionally, MSPRA believes the following should be noted as potential long-term issues to watch: • Protecting students online • Healing after the election • Unaccounted for or “lost” students missing in the student count • School communicator self-care to avoid burnout

Additional items of note

MSPRA member Tom Scheidel was recognized as a Learning and Liberty Legacy Leader MSPRA successfully nominated two members for NSPRA’s 35 under 35 Program: Ashley Kryscynski and Andrew Munson MSRA member Tom Gould and MSPRA President Karen Heath presented at NSPRA’s virtual conference: You’ve Got This! How to Build a Successful Communication Program. They subsequently produced a 750-word article entitled “Tips to Build a Successful (and Respected) School Communication Program“ for the NSPRA Gold Standard Column- October 2020 MSPRA members are looking forward to supporting NSPRA’s new Executive Director Barbara Hunter, APR. MSPRA received an update from the IRS in October stating we are in favorable exempt status, following some confusion earlier in the year.

Ohio School Public Relations Association (OHSPRA)

Lou DeVincentis, President

Chapter well-being

Membership : OHSPRA membership as of October 29, 2020, stands at 127 for the 2020-21 membership cycle. This is a 22% increase in membership compared to October 29, 2019. Our membership year is September 1, 2020 - August 31, 2021 Due to our chapter’s strong financial standing, this year we offered an “early bird” incentive for renewing members that we announced this summer. The rates of our individual membership have been $90 in the past and an institutional (up to 3 members) was $200. The incentive, if paid prior to the beginning of the membership year (Sept. 1, 2020) is 15% off the cost. The normal rates are now active.

  • $75 Individual, $90 after Sept. 1
  • $168 Institutional (3 members, $55 each additional), $200 after Sept. 1 As our membership thank you and appreciation gift as well as a reminder to renew, we sent members a “stay charged” gift that lights up “OHSPRA” as it charges either an iphone or an android phone. OHSPRA Chapter Secretary Audrey Holtzman and another OHSPRA member created an entertaining “like so” how-to video for members.

Budget/Finances: The chapter continues to be fiscally viable and responsible. As of Oct. 29, 2020

  • Checking $23,456.97
  • Savings $25,663.83
  • Total $49,120.80

Partnerships & Sponsorship: OHSPRA continues to develop relationships with a variety of sponsors to support our programming and member opportunities throughout the year. Our director of partnerships/sponsorships, Crystal Davis added a virtual sponsorship menu to our marketing and has aggressively looked at ways to bring in new sponsors and new sponsorship opportunities including finding someone to sponsor our event with the Communications Director from the Lt Governor of Ohio’s Office. Please see the marketing below. We will have more to share in the next chapter report. We recently added ParentSquare as a sponsor for our recent members-only webinar.

Professional development programs/activities

Josh Eck Kicks Off OHSPRA’s New Quarterly Virtual Events : OHSPRA’s first-ever members-only digital workshop was a truly memorable event featuring Josh Eck, Communication Director for Ohio Lt. Governor John Husted. On the afternoon of September 21, OHSPRA members logged into the free Zoom event to hear Eck’s insights on the importance of strategy, planning, and teamwork when communicating during a global pandemic. Eck talked about his background in communications, how he became part of Husted's team and shared stories about what it is like to assist a public figure in preparing for press conferences, the closing of schools, issuing stay-at-home orders, reopening plans and more. OHSPRA would like to say a big “thank you” to Josh Eck for headlining the event, and to our event sponsor ParentSquare. For more information about ParentSquare, contact Nathan Ericson at nathan.ericson@parentsquare.com.

Fall Workshop with the Ohio School Boards Association: The information for our combined fall workshop is below. This was the first time the fall workshop had to be held virtual (on Zoom). It was a three-part workshop that included OHSPRA Board Members Alicia Mowry, president elect, and Alicia Mowry, secretary served as moderators. OHSPRA Board members Kari Basson, director of professional development, and Lou DeVincentis, president, worked with OSBA in developing the agenda. Other Board members helped organize the panels and promote the event. We had 37 registered for the workshop. It was a great turnout and was very well received.

Communication pros and practitioners share best practices for effective communications with parents, students and staff as we begin a new school year. Get tips that can help you succeed in any environment. Key takeaways from this workshop will include:

  • Learn crisis communication tactics to help overcome communication hurdles and deal with the unexpected.
  • Cover how to effectively communicate relevant information to stakeholders using your existing tools amid a rapidly changing environment.
  • Hear from a panel of school communication professionals and district superintendents about how they are effectively communicating with parents, students, staff and local communities.

AGENDA FRIDAY, OCT. 30, 2020

9 a.m. Crisis communications amid a pandemic of crises Thomas J. Fladung, managing partner, Hennes Communications The echo chamber of social media. A tense, politically charged national landscape. And the COVID19 pandemic. Learn how to help protect your school’s reputation in one of the most challenging communications atmospheres imaginable.

9:45 a.m. Break

10 a.m. From the field: Effective district communications Panelists: Candice L. Harrison, external communications manager, Toledo City Schools; Mark A. Murphy, superintendent, Tuscarawas Valley Local; Kelsey Webb, director of communications and public relations, Ohio HiPoint Career Center; Scott Wortman, chief communications officer, Columbus City; Dr. Talisa Dixon, superintendent, Columbus City; Moderator: Alicia Mowry, Delaware Area Career Center A panel of school communication professionals and district superintendents share how they are effectively communicating with parents, students, staff, and local communities.

10:45 a.m. Break

11 a.m. Change agents: How the media has adapted to the 'new normal' Panelists: Trisha Stuckey Gardner, executive producer, WKYC-TV3; Neil Thompson, Editor/Content and Special Projects, ThisWeek News; Alissa Widman Neese, reporter, Columbus Dispatch; Angela Reighard, reporter, 10TV; Moderator: Audrey Holtzman, director of communications and community relations, Parma City Like school districts, the news media has had to adapt how it presents news across all of its platforms. Hear how to pitch stories and handle media requests in the current climate and in any future crises. No handouts currently available

NOON Wrap-up and adjourn

Ohio School Boards Association Capital Conference - Nov. 7-10 Virtual Conference: OHSPRA will have a virtual booth where attendees can solicit school communication advice during the conference. OHSPRA will also upload publications and other communication examples from districts across the state for attendees to view.

OHSPRA Spring Conference: We are in the process of developing plans for our annual conference while also organizing a plan for a virtual conference should the pandemic cause the in-person gathering to be canceled.

Major chapter issues or concerns

Professional Development Opportunities – With the pandemic causing in person professional development opportunities to be canceled over the last two school years – including our spring conference, fall workshop, capital conference – we needed to find ways to offer our members other options as well as address ways to increase sponsorship opportunities. We are addressing this through increased virtual opportunities, website content and partnerships.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

I think we are good at the moment.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

COVID-19 has dominated the time of school communicators over the past eight months and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. It is stressful. It weighs heavy on the health, academics, and politics of our schools and the situation is ever-fluid.

Additional items of note

COVID-19/Back-to-School Resource Webpage: We added to our already robust members-only resource webpage with a new webpage that features COVID-19/Back-to-School communication resources only from districts across the state. It has been well received by members who have shared and borrowed from each other via this webpage.

Newsletters: It has been published quarterly including the latest issue this month. Amplify Newsletter Archive for October 2020

Social media: We continue to grow our social media presence. Several board members have the ability to post to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We also have our chapter manager scheduling regular posts throughout the week.

  • Twitter - 1516 followers
  • Facebook - 520 likes, 607 following
  • Instagram – 134 following

We have added an incentive performance bonus for our chapter manager to assist our director of communications with growing our social media presence among members and non-members and to utilize it as a recruiting tool.

OHSPRA Store: An idea that came to fruition as we thought of ways to promote our professional while bringing additional funds into the chapter. The old adage says "not to wear your heart on your sleeve," but clearly whoever said that didn't live through school reopening in a pandemic. So, we thought, why not wear your job on your chest? Visit our new online store at https://ohspra.itemorder.com/sale today for some great merch celebrating school PR, OHSPRA and YOU!

OHSPRA Board 2020-21:

  • President — Lou DeVincentis, director of communications, Orange City Schools
  • Past President — Patrick Gallaway, director of communications, New Albany-Plain Local Schools
  • President-Elect — Alicia Mowry, Public Relations Supervisor, Delaware Area Career Center
  • Treasurer — Patti Koslo, K Communications
  • Secretary — Audrey Holtzman, director of communications, Parma City Schools
  • Director of Membership — Olivia Bronczek, communications director, Massillon City Schools
  • Director of Communications – Kurt Moore, communications consultant, Marion City Schools
  • Director of Professional Development- Kari Basson, community relations coordinator, Kettering City Schools
  • Director of Contests and Awards — Melinda Briggs, communications director, Little Miami Public Schools
  • Director of Partnerships — Crystal Davis, public relations coordinator, Pickerington Local Schools
  • Mary Beddell, public relations director, Plain Local School District, serves as chapter manager (not a Board position).

GOALS

Focus for 2020-21

  • Expand virtual professional development opportunities
  • Develop sponsorship opportunities
  • Continue to enhance partnership opportunities with other educational associations in the state (Ohio School Boards Association, Buckeye Association for School Administrators, Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators, Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators and more.)
  • Continue to publish quarterly Amplify Your Story newsletter
  • Improve the website’s online resources area
  • Increase social media exposure

North Central Region Chapters Report - November 2020

Tracy Jentz, APR, North Central Region Vice President

 

Illinois School Public Relations Association (INSPRA) 

Carol Smith, President

No report submitted.

Iowa School Public Relations Association (ISPRA)

Beth Strike, APR, President

Chapter well-being

The Iowa School Public Relations Association (ISPRA) continues to grow and thrive. We have continued to add members through the late summer and fall and provided comprehensive support around COVID-related topics. This fall we offered a three-day virtual conference with nearly 100 % attendance by our membership.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

Several members of our association worked together as a subcommittee to create a sample comprehensive Return to Learn communication plan. This plan was used not just by fellow members but also by school administrators across the state. This helped to increase awareness and respect for the ISPRA brand. The plan was very well received and accessed.

Professional development programs/activities

As mentioned above, we provided a three-day virtual conference for members and non-members across the state on October 28-30. Our conference organizer used speakers from theceso.com and partnered with RethinkEDU to help facilitate the speaker contracts, marketing, handling of Zoom transitions, and moderating during the conference. While evaluations are not yet returned, we anticipate that the conference format will be well received.

In addition to the fall conference, we also provided frequent (ranging from weekly to monthly depending on the issues) COVID-related membership Zoom opportunities. This allowed members to talk through issues with one another, share resources, and draw strength during the especially rough periods of Return to Learn planning.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

At times, we have struggled with balancing the load of ISPRA officer responsibilities with our own very busy positions. This has been an exceptional year which has demanded more from both positions. I am grateful to the rest of the board for their commitment, support and dedication to their peers over the last six months.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

Clearly COVID is not going away anytime soon. No one has ever experienced such a multi-layered, relentless, long lasting crisis in their professional tenure. I am concerned about burnout among memberships which may result in high turnover and even departing the profession.

In addition, the political divide in our society continues to grow with great ramifications for public schools which seek to be the common denominator. Continued support and training for school administrators and communicators would be welcome.

Additional items of note

None

Minnesota School Public Relations Association (MinnSPRA)

Tami DeLand, President

No report submitted.

Nebraska School Public Relation Association (NebSPRA) 

Jeremy Maskel, President

No report submitted.

Wisconsin School Public Relations Association (WSPRA)

Tracy Habisch-Ahlin, President

Chapter well-being

WSPRA membership remains stable. The Board of Directors typically meet bi-monthly. However, due to the school closures during the pandemic the Board has moved to quarterly meetings.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

WSPRA holds two conferences a year; a fall two-day conference and a spring one-day workshop. Our spring one-day workshop did was cancelled this past April due the pandemic. We are planning a fall webinar in partnership with MOSPRA. Our fall webinar theme is on self-care, which we thought was timely given everything that is going on for our members. We are particularly excited to have this partnership with another SPRA, something that would not have likely taken place if we were not all dealing with COVID.

Professional development programs/activities

Our professional development activities are part of WSPRA’s fall and spring events. Please see the above Chapter Projects response.

Major chapter issues or concerns

As with other chapters across the country at this time, COVID-19 is challenging our ability to connect. For many WSPRA members the demands of their typical jobs has remained the same while adding on the constant churn of communication and connection required in response of COVID-19.

If it were an ordinary year, WSPRA would be completing its Strategic Goal #1: Build a sustainable management model for the organization. Specifically we would be finalizing the implementation of an Executive Director for the organization. This year, we have executive support from our AWSA partner. We are piloting AWSA’s executive support for a year at no cost to WSPRA to determine if this is a model that is sustainable and provides the necessary supports. With this year being less than ordinary, it may be difficult to truly judge the effectiveness of this model. Anecdotally, I have found the position to be valuable, as we have tried to navigate this year in a manner that is as close to normal as possible.

Additionally, WSPRA anticipates starting work on our next Strategic Goal #2: Establish and maintain fiscal stability and sustainability to support WSPRA’s mission and vision.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

The NSPRA Open Forum has been incredibly responsive and useful during the pandemic. Communications need to move very fast at times and the forum has been a critical resource.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

The issue that is present for all of us is diversity, equity and inclusion. Ensuring that our communications and community engagement routinely monitors for implicit bias, is aware of who is at the table and how to expand the diversity of voices at the table, help to amplify voices not present or have been muted, and remember that words matter.

Additional items of note

None

 


Northeast Region Chapters Report - November 2020

Angela Marshall, Northeast Region Vice President

 

Connecticut School Public Relations Association (ConnSPRA)

President position vacated August 2019
Brenda Wilcox Williams, Vice President

ConnSPRA has struggled for many years. Its leadership has indicated that it is ready to implement a one-year suspension of the chapter. ConnSPRA members will be invited to join NYSPRA during this time to make sure the members have support.

In consultation with the two remaining ConnSPRA officers and the current Northeast Region vice president, NSPRA staff have recommended that the NSPRA Executive Board take action to approve a one-year suspension of the Connecticut chapter.

New Jersey School Public Relations Association (NJSPRA) 

Lori Perlow, President

Chapter well-being

We are seeing the usual flow of membership registrations this fall. In many ways, COVID has shined a light on the school communications function which will likely impact our membership this year. Overall, our membership has started to plateau, so we don’t expect any significant increase this year.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

Lori Perlow, chapter president and Mary Ann McGann, vp of communications, were invited to participate on a panel regarding school communications at the virtual NJ School Boards Association conference in October. The session was well-attended.

Lori Perlow was invited to present a workshop for the NJASA – superintendents and administrators association. However, due to low registration, the event is being rescheduled.

New Jersey, along with much of the country, is in the midst of an intense second wave of the pandemic, and just as schools were planning to reopen. Without a doubt, this impacting events across the state.

Professional development programs/activities

We have planned to host five virtual workshops this year. Based on a survey of our members, we are offering the events virtually starting at noon. The workshops will be 45-60 minutes in duration. This is a short enough time commitment for our members to break away from their work to participate. We have invited NSPRA contacts to present and hope that engaging them will draw more participants. All sessions so they are available for members who can’t attend – a best practice that’s more challenging and costly to implement when in person. We hope that our Annual Meeting in May can be in person.

We are exploring the possibility of hosting informal drop-in virtual meetings for members each month. This will be hosted by the chapter president, Lori Perlow. It’s a simple way to connect and address issues in real time which seems to be what members need most. More to come on this.

2020 – 2021 Virtual Workshop

  • November 19, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. - Supporting Employees with Parent/Family Communications
    • District communications is a team effort, no matter the size of your school district. Throughout the school year and during COVID especially, communications are needed at all levels from the superintendent/board office to building level and classroom/teacher level. Ideally, an established culture of communication drives efforts and ensures success. Learn how one district is empowering their employees, at all levels, to engage with parents and other stakeholders.
    • Presenters:
      • Nicholas Diaz, Shared Superintendent of Union Township & Franklin Township School Districts
      • Andrew Carfley, Principal, Union Township Middle School
      • Karin Stumpf, School Counselor, Franklin Township School
  • January TBD - Employee Wellness
  • February 24, 2021 - Communicating in a COVID World - Gerri Allen; MAISA Communication Consultant; MSPRA Executive Director
  • March 23, 2021 - Communicating and Leading for Equity - Susan Enfield, Ed.D.
  • April 21, 2021 - Communicating with Different Audiences - Lesley Bruinton, APR; NSPRA President
  • May 26, 2021 - Annual Meeting (Heldrich Hotel)

Major chapter issues or concerns

COVID has been the cause of much delay of our chapter operations. Summer planning happened in September instead of July. Our exec board members are juggling so many new and different responsibilities that our board is overburdened when it comes to timely chapter operations. Everyone is quite forgiving and understanding.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

Helping to connect us to resources is always helpful. Keeping an eye on states/chapters who are doing great work so others don’t have to reinvent the wheel is always appreciated.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

In NJ, the governor pushed for local decision-making regarding opening/closing schools due to COVID-19 cases/outbreaks. Guidance was vague and interpreted numerous ways leading to more chaos. The result of our governor’s action is that it’s pinned superintendents against union leaders against board against parents. It’s a very contentious time in NJ. It seems that schools can do no right and getting any positive press is nearly impossible. I’d love to know how others are dealing with this dilemma.

Additional items of note

N/A

New York School Public Relations Association (NYSPRA)

Adrienne Leon, APR, President

Chapter well-being

NYSPRA continues to have an active membership. The 2019-20 year ended with a loss of $2,436.54, mainly due to $0 revenue from our annual conference (canceled as a result of the pandemic). Similarly, revenue projections for 2020-21 are conservative. Our annual awards contest participation was lower than in year's past and the 2021 conference will be a series of virtual PD sessions instead of our usual 2-day event. That said, we continue to be in strong financial shape.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

The New York School Board Association’s conference slated for New York City this past October was a virtual event, at which NYSPRA participated in the virtual expo. On October 7 we announced the winners of our annual awards contest and on October 26 we announced Jean Palmer as our Communicator of the Year. Jean and our contest winners were honored during a virtual awards celebration, held live on our Facebook page on October 28 (following our fall executive board meeting).

We are planning several free members-only virtual networking events for the remainder of the year, as well as a series of paid virtual PD sessions that will substitute for our annual conference. Topics for the paid sessions are: crisis communications, equity and diversity, branding, LGBTQ+ issues, and the APR. Details for these sessions are being finalized and will be publicized early in December.

Professional development programs/activities

In addition to what is listed above, we also continue to maintain an active Facebook group for members. Regular communication from the chapter/chapter president also occurs to members through email.

Major chapter issues or concerns

Offering value in these unusual times, especially given how spread thin everyone is.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

Ways for the chapters to support members in obtaining their APR, including mentoring and connecting NSPRA chapters with PRSA chapters for greater collaboration.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

The ongoing pandemic and related communications issues, including engaging families in a remote environment and the home-school connection.

Additional items of note

We are looking to revisit/revamp our strategic plan that was created a few years ago and create a more formal digital/social media strategy.

Pennsylvania School Public Relations Association (PenSPRA)

Angela Linch, President

No report submitted.

 


Northwest Region Chapters Report - November 2020

Curtis Campbell, Northwest Region Vice President

 

Idaho School Public Relations Association (IDSPRA)

Kathleen Tuck, President

Chapter well-being

IDSPRA continues to be an active albeit small chapter. The rural nature of our state means many of our districts are small, and public relations is often a side responsibility for other administrators. We do have a full roster of those districts that do hire public relations professionals.

Professional development programs/activities

Due to COVID, our annual state conference was changed to a Zoom format. The majority of our members were able to attend the event, which included several sessions lasting until lunch. Several of our members also met in September and October via Zoom to view NSPRA Power Hour webinars and share how we are dealing with shared COVID challenges.

Major chapter issues or concerns

We are all struggling with how to share COVID information, including how to build and display dashboards listing positive cases/quarantines in individual schools, reopening plans, board decisions regarding schedules changes, and more.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

We are seeing a lot of dissatisfaction with school board trustees who do not vote to fully open schools during high incidences of community spread. Communications professionals are being challenged to try to focus our community on the work of the district instead of having to respond to dissatisfied (and often angry) patrons in the midst of recall efforts, conflicts between trustees and union leadership and more.

Oregon School Public Relations Association (OSPRA)

Laura Conroy, President

Chapter well-being

We are sustaining our membership of 60+ members and have a robust renewal rate. Our finances are stable with a reserve that is double our annual operating budget. Our finances are diversified with annual revenues from membership fees and robust sponsorship support.

The OSPRA Board meets twice monthly. An active board committee structure for professional development, membership and finance has resulted in a successful distributive leadership model to support succession and a wide offering of high-quality events and programming for members.

Historically, OSPRA hosted two conferences annually. We surveyed our members and determined that our in-person conference format was not feasible for the 20-21 school year due to concerns about COVID as well as prohibitions on large gatherings per statewide COVID guidelines. Undeterred, board leadership launched virtual events to support morale, shared knowledge, collaboration and professional developments across our state. Participation in the virtual social and hot topic events has been robust.

Chapter online presence and communication is supported with a publicly facing website, Twitter account and Facebook page. Internal chapter communication is supported with online member forums, google drives, an active members-only Facebook page and monthly member email updates.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

In addition to a wide array of virtual professional development offerings described below, OSPRA hosts monthly virtual socials to support professional morale which has been especially critical for practitioners in rural districts. Additionally, OSPRA leadership and members collaborated and provided crisis support to districts and communities devastated by wildfire emergencies including evacuations and school district closures in Newport, Phoenix-Talent and Estacada in September of this year.

Professional development programs/activities

Members are supported with a mentor/mentee program, a 3-part professional development series happening in November, January and March with guest speakers and on-demand virtual “Hot Topic” practitioner events to support shared knowledge and understanding of emerging issues. The OSPRA Facebook page is highly active with daily posts and responses as practitioners seek advice and provide exemplars in the spirit of cooperation.

Major chapter issues or concerns

In July, we reported a concern that due to budget cuts, membership may fall as districts cut back on professional association dues and fees. Membership renewals were due in early October and we were pleased to see that a decrease in membership did not materialize as feared. Indeed, we’re seeing high rates of renewal and recruiting new members as districts bring on communication professionals to support comprehensive distance learning.

As we move to virtual platforms we continue to seek information and expertise about delivering high-quality events that inspire and energize members and their connection with peers without contributing to “screen fatigue.”

Chapter membership demographics continue to vary wildly from the student populations we serve. Members are predominantly female, white, college-educated. We continue to seek ways to support diversity in our profession to better represent and engage with the ethnically and linguistically diverse communities we serve.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

As we move to virtual platforms we continue to seek information and expertise about delivering high-quality events that inspire and energize members and their connection with peers without contributing to “screen fatigue.”

Chapter membership demographics continue to vary wildly from the student populations we serve. Members are predominantly female, white, college-educated. We continue to seek ways to support diversity in our profession to better represent and engage with the ethnically and linguistically diverse communities we serve. NSPRA guidance and leadership would be helpful - perhaps offering equity amendments for chapter bylaws, committee charter for equity committees, equity lens template for communicators, a consultant to work with chapter leadership on leading for equity, awards for recognizing work in equitable communications and engagement etc.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

Like many states, the impacts of COVID-19 is defining much of our work. Continued support for districts that are trying to find ways to support student learning from a distance, professional development for tools that support connection, and professional wellness supports continue to be in demand. Likewise, the upcoming election and continued impacts of systemic racism on our schools and communities is a topic that deserves tremendous support.

Washington School Public Relations Association (WSPRA)

Tove Tupper, President

Chapter well-being

WSPRA is staying strong amidst the global pandemic.

  • We are proud to report growth in membership this fall. We currently have more than 180 active members with many more individuals whose memberships are up for renewal. Our membership drive continues this fall.
  • We have already secured several sponsorships for the school year and have money in reserve.
  • We have moved our typically fall and winter conferences to online and the response from members has been outstanding.

Chapter projects/collaboration efforts

At the annual board retreat over the summer, the WSPRA executive board identified three primary goals for the year:

  1. Expand WSPRA membership benefits during the 2020-21 school year.
  2. Establish a virtual professional learning program.
  3. Prepare and plan for NSPRA Seattle in 2024.

Due to COVID-19, WSPRA has transformed its professional development program. Rather than hosting in-person workshops this fall and winter, WSPRA is offering eight virtual events to members. All webinars are free for WSPRA members.

We consciously chose to offer these professional development sessions for free to members for two primary reasons. First, we know districts are facing budget deficits in the coming years. We don’t want members to miss out on critical professional development and collaboration with peers due to budget restraints. Second, we want to expand on our membership benefits. Our goal is to create a virtual program for our members that sustains long after the pandemic is over.

The WSPRA board is looking ahead to spring 2021 and summer 2022 when we hope to offer in-person conferences, pending the pandemic.

Professional development programs/activities

We have held three virtual professional developments this school year:

  1. August: Self-Care in our Crazy School PR World
  2. September: Creative Connections
  3. October: Curating Content in a Virtual Environment

We have five more virtual professional development sessions scheduled for the remainder of the school year:

  1. November: Tools You Can Use: Techniques To Take Your Projects To The Next Level
  2. December: Winter Social Hour
  3. January: Equity & Inclusion
  4. February: Soliciting Community & Staff Input
  5. March: Topic TBD

We are also planning for our annual conference in spring 2021 and a new summer conference called Camp WSPRA in summer 2021.

Major chapter issues or concerns

I am concerned about school funding in coming years and how our chapter can flexibly handle what that might mean for membership and professional development. We are being very budget conscious right now to ensure we have enough money in reserve for the years to come.

We are also concerned about work-life-WSPRA balance. Our executive board members are working extremely hard due to the pandemic. Adding in family and home commitments, plus the commitment of WSPRA, the capacity of our board members is maxed. On a personal level, we are concerned for everyone’s mental health and wellbeing. On an association level, we are concerned about recruitment for future board members positions. In non-pandemic years, we often hear members say they do not have enough time to volunteer for the board. We are concerned COVID-19 will only exacerbate this and make it more difficult for us to recruit board members for next year.

Issues or areas that could use NSPRA regional or national support

It would be helpful to have a private list-serv or chat board for SPRA board members to discuss and share ideas. COVID is forcing us to be extremely innovative. While this is great, it is challenging to do it alone. It would be great if NSPRA provided some sort of tool to collaborate with other SPRA leaders on-the-go.

State or local issues that NSPRA should keep an eye on

The primary issue we are all watching locally is the return to in-person instruction. Some districts in our state are transitioning to a hybrid model in November while other districts will remain virtual until at least February 2021.

Additional items of note

The WSPRA Board is extremely grateful for the NSPRA Executive Board and their commitment to holding a national seminar in the Pacific Northwest region in July 2024. Thank you for working with our chapter to make this dream a reality. We are confident it will go down in history as one the best (if not THE BEST) seminar to date.